Aotearoa – The Land of the Long White Cloud…

Kiaora friends!,

Wow. You really don’t know what exhaustion is until you’ve travelled abroad with 2 kids under 2 years of age!

But don’t get me wrong, what an adventure – I think we’ve all gained so much from 3 weeks in beautiful New Zealand. It was just non-stop. We flew into Auckland, had a couple of days with our awesome Aunty Caryl, Uncle Wayne, cuzzies Jeremy, Dee Anne and cute baby Cora, Callum, Asher, Mary-anne and Carmillo.

Our awesome Auckland family!

Then came the nine hour drive to Mahia on the east coast. Surprisingly, the kids were amazing… slept and whinged minimally. Had 6 days in our favourite little red bach on the beach, Mokatahi. Joined briefly by Tanija, Manu, Katija and Mila we (Manu and I) spent the days between kids and scouring the many beaches for waves. The weather was perfect the waves were fun and it was very hard driving away – but school holidays were starting so our timing was right to leave the holiday destination. Our special thanks to cousin Winks for allowing us to stay in their bach.

Mum, Zeph and the view from Mokatahi...

Dad and Oceana. Sunset games.

Zephyr scopes the surf while Oceana is more interested in Hi-5 on her dvd player!

Mahia sunsets. Umm... whats the word for it..?

Back to Auckland via an overnight stop in Taupo to visit my 92 yr old Grandfather – sharp and witty as ever, then a stop in to see my other Grandfather on the Coromandel Peninsula.

A couple of recharge days back with the fam in Auckland then flew down to Queenstown as the other side of the family (Mums) all converged for a week of over indulgence…! Aunty George and Uncle Baz from Bali, Melo, Mark and baby Beau from Auckland, Trin, Rich, Harley and Meadow from Cromwell, Katrina down from Nelson, Lisa, Dean and Bailey from Christchurch and Alex and Deb spent 3 days over at Cecil Peak at a shearing station. The only way to access the station is by boat as there are no roads there, but as I discovered on arrival the station owners get to and from Q-town via chopper! Once upon a time it was available as a weekend getaway for tourists – to ‘get a feel’ for life on a shearing station in the rugged kiwi landscape. Now it’s been let go and the current caretakers don’t have the time (or patience!) to host the clueless city dwellers (like me!). But my Aunty George is a 20 year local of Queenstown and managed to get us all to stay there for free! Its who you know…! What an amazing place. Surrounded by green rolling hills, on the very edge of the lake staring at, what George and Baz affectionately refer to as, ‘The F**king Amazings’ (The Remarkables – with only a small spattering of snow at this time of year). The accommodation was rough, no heating for example, but the fact we had beautiful warm weather every day and were heavily intoxicated by bedtime, it really didn’t matter..! I will take this opportunity to make special mention of the Croqisloe Cup, the long running croquet rivalry between the Kiwis and the Aussies. There were some amazing skills on display, none better than Baz’s jump shot over Rich who was poison (ie: touch him and you die), through the final pin and hit the poison stick with next shot. Gold. For those of you who haven’t been subjected to the wonderful world of croquet, that all meant nothing to you, but get out there and discover your competitive edge..! And, I know you’re all bursting with anticipation to find out who won the esteemed Croqisloe Cup…well, yep, me the annoying sh*tdribbling flying Aussie cleaned the floor with those Kiwis on their home turf and retained the Croqisloe to add to my 3 straight Crystal Clear Club Croquet Cup Championship’s and my ever growing trophy collection… and, yes, the dribbling continues……!

Oceana points out the view of the F**king Amazings from Cecil Peak Station

Dad teaches the next generation of sh*tdribbling aussie's how it's done..!

Ahh the family....!

The water taxi - the only way in or out!

To recover from the craziness of Cecil Peak, we had a lovely couple days with cuzzie Trin, Rich, Harley and Meadow at their house in Cromwell – a sleepy little town just out of Queenstown. Then caught up with one of Seb’s best friends, Kate, who after a holiday to NZ a few years back from England, loved it so much that she’s moved there!

Thanks also to Mark’s folks Jan and Pete for letting us use their house as our base in Queenstown – especially for the foxtel with 5 sport channels – I got to see AFL for the first time in weeks! And the view..? well………

The view of Cecil Peak from Jan and Pete's place... The station is just around that point...

Then, after three weeks of perfection, on our last day we flew from Queenstown to Sydney en route back to Perth with a 3 hour lay over in Sydney, Oceana got sick. At 6pm she chundered in the terminal with our flight only an hour away. The duty manager came over and politely informed us that we weren’t allowed to fly as our daughter could pass something to the rest of the plane. We were exhausted and couldn’t believe it – so close! The duty manager was amazing. He put us up in the Mercure hotel, food and cab fares included. Oshe wasn’t well and slept most of the time. The next day we got a doctor’s clearance for Oshe and got on a 5pm flight home – with an upgrade to business class! It’s totally ruined flying for me as I never want to go back to economy…! Thanks a lot Qantas!

All in all, what a trip. It makes my realise how important family is in the scheme of life. It also makes me sad we live so far from them. I love the balance I get from my family – my Aunty Caryl and family have strong morals and family values and staying with them was such a delight as they welcomed us into their home. Oceana especially got so much out of the whole experience.

Just happy that our first family holiday was a success – Dad got waves, Mum got great photos (1285 to be exact! – of which you’ve seen only a few here) and the kids have grown up so much it’s unbelievable.

To EVERYONE that made our holiday such a memorable one – Thank you!

Stay tuned for some new artwork…

Stone.

 

 

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L.A.G.O (Late Arvo Glass Off)

Hi All,

Well, a wave of inspiration (or a ripple at the very least) washed over me on the weekend and I managed to get into the studio for the first time in a long time. My awesome wife is very encouraging and understanding and took the kids out for the day to give me some creative space. It took a few more nights after, but got it done…

I documented the process:

I broke all of the artist’s rules with this one. Normally you start at the back and work your way forward, working depth of field into the piece layer upon layer. But, hey, it’s my art and I’ll do whatever the hell I like! With a long piece like this (1.5m by 0.5m) and with the wave as the focus, I wanted to get it right before adding anything else.

The wave is starting to take shape. As always, when I start out on a new piece, it transforms almost immediately. Initially I wanted this to be a rather violent wave – rough and menacing – but I’ve got some new brushes that give a smooth polished finish and I quite liked it – hence the name of the piece – ‘L.A.G.O’. Frog, my bro, often talks about the hour before sunset as his favourite time to surf.

Last minute decision to add cliffs behind the wave to create a rugged, isolated feel to the piece. I rarely include surfers on my waves for two reasons: 1) For me, the perfect wave is the one that’s untouched or ‘unspoiled’ by human existence, and, 2) I’m really crap at figures and portraits…!

If you haven’t worked out by now I have an obsession for large, bright blocks of colour. Not sure where this comes from but I personally enjoy pieces which impact and challenge the observer.

The finished piece:

L.A.G.O (Late Arvo Glass Off) : Oil on Canvas. 150cm by 50cm.

FOR SALE!

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And the river returns to the sea…

Huzzah!

Yes, yes, I know, slack. I could sit here and crap on about how busy Ive been (honestly!) but slack sums it up in one word without the poor me bullshit.

The good news is that the idea’s and the inspiration are beginning to flow… I don’t know about everyone else but for me you can’t just turn this shit on and off like a tap. You have to wait for that itch, that urge of creativity. It can appear suddenly or be brought on by something – however it happens, it’s nice when it does.

Lately, the quality of the mainstream ‘surf movie’ has improved dramatically from previous years. Coming off the back of the biggest year in surfing history (since the invention of the shortboard) the improvements to documenting, equipment and general surfers abilities have taken surfing to a new level. In November Kelly Slater won his 10th World Surfing Title only one week after the tragic passing of his greatest rival in Andy Irons. A moment in history never to be surpassed. Once again I refer to the balance of life. Good and bad. Dark and light.

So I’m watching a documentary the other night called Waveriders from a couple of years back. It follows the history of surfing with a bloke named George Freeth who’s heritage is Irish. It is a fantastic watch and shows the love of surfing of the Irish who have to brave the freezing Atlantic to fulfill their passion. Kelly makes an appearance during the film and speaks, as always, humbly about his ability and what he has achieved. He joins his Irish buddies in a fun session and even in head to toe rubber, the man is a freak.

It’s documentary’s like this that give me inspiration. ‘Castles in the Sky’ is the latest from Taylor Steele, a now world renowned film maker. It is visually stunning as the film takes you on a journey through third world countries surfing never-been-surfed-before waves. The Rasta in India section is incredible as he surfs on his own and rides one wave through a pier with the locals above in hysterics! What is this walking on water..??! Gone are the days of wave after wave of shithot surfing to a heavy metal soundtrack. Instead, the modern day surf movie involves and invites the viewer to join the film maker and meander through his art.

If youre into this kind of shit check out Rasta’s ‘Life Like Liquid’ and the Malloy’s ‘Thicker Than Water’.

Anyway, once again, don’t fret – there are works in the pipeline…. Now, does anyone have a week of time I can borrow…? Hmmm, actually, make that a month……

Till then,

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Seasoned Cheekings

Hiya good people!,

Been awhile between drinks here. I’ve been working like a (particuarly lazy) whip dog constructing the kids playground in the backyard the last few weekends (all for having 4 days down south with the boys!). Sand pit, turf lawn, fence mural all with the unfortunately unhelpful kids who were at least having fun. Looks great and will hopefully shut them up for years!!

Got a few things in the pipeline, some new designs, paintings, so please keep checking back from time to time. As I’ve said before, this is all in it’s infancy so I would love some of your feedback/ suggestions/ ideas via a comment or email.

So, to my friends and family and anyone who’s bothered to check out the site, thanks, I hope you have a joyous chrissy with lots of sun and surf and an awesome 2011.

’till then, remember, the sea soothes the soul.

Stone.

P.S. If  you’re a sport fan check out nezzfl.com for a laugh so hard your spleen will pop out of your ear.

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Nothin’ but dust and flies…

Yep, it’s been a shocking winter out here. I’m in Mukinbudin about 4 hours drive east of Perth and it’s as baron as the Fremantle Football Club’s trophy cabinet. Its sad to see the struggling farmers and low morale in the towns. It’s dark but the heat is still radiating out of the dry earth. And what’s the only thing I can think about? Yep,….

Hmmm….. 7 hours drive and a half hour walk and I could be back in there…..

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Stuffed!…

Yep, the ‘ol body aint used to this kind of punishment.!

Spent this weekend just gone down at a particular South West river with Balls, his boat and Sas, Xzavier and Sas’s friend Haley plus boys Will & Harry. It was a family affair as Seb, Oceana and Zephyr made the 4 hour drive down too. The kids were great, slept well and Seb enjoyed pulling on the ski’s for the first time since popping out two kids! Jerka and Shez are also skiing regulars although Jerka came down with a mysterious gastro-like life threatening degenerative disease which put him out of action for approx 4 hours until which time the wind dropped the next morning, the river glassed off and he made a miraculous recovery just in time to get some barefooting oil. Funny that. Balls, after the devastation of missing most of the Gtown Roids weekend due to a real illness (unlike Jerka’s) was out for revenge and tore that poor river apart. He would start each morning with 3 or 4 barefoot runs followed closely by a slalom run and then topping it off with some huge airs on the wakeboard…… and then back to camp for breakfast..! I was still feeling the effects of 4 crazy days at Gracetown so was pretty lame with a couple of good wakeboards but without a doubt the highlight of the weekend was me taking Oceana on her first ever tube ride! Mum was in the boat freaking out but Oshe, after an initial cry, settled down and enjoyed it (well, I presumed she did by her stunned silence!). She’ll be wakeboarding by age 2!..

Now, time to relax a bit. Back to work for a holiday! Where did I put that walking frame……?

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NEWS FLASH! WEIRD ALIEN AMPHIBIAN THING (WAAT?) GETS BARRELED!

The 2010 Annual Roidal Tribunal was held on Friday night. Lets just say there were some pretty serious accusations but in the end when the Roids went to the polls, it was EZZA who came out the winner (or loser – depending). And for his punishment..? Well…..

         

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Freakin’ North Point!…

Well folks, I wasn’t lying in my last post about North Point and here’s the proof…

Yep. It was a pretty special day with the swell peaking Friday arvo then cleaning up for the rest of the weekend. Check out ‘photowaves’ for a full lowdown on the goings on of the roids. Special mention to Jerka who took these photo’s also Daz and Boomer for your photo/filming efforts. Its when you get to look back at the images that the buzz comes rushing back…

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Back to Reality…

Yep. Mother Earth has delivered an amazing weekend for the boys. Sitting here now rather blurry eyed, I digress and appreciate that the stars really did align and that we (I) are indeed very lucky. On Friday, North Point was an arena for the best surfers in the South West to test themselves on – and I enjoyed every minute sitting up on the balcony (with a beer) watching perfect barrell after perfect barrell roll through (10 foot with 40 guys out made it a day for the super keen and talented – one I was happy to be a spectator to!). But we definately made the most of the conditions with some treks to find those elusive empty waves. Thanks to our families who had to hold fort while we were away. Photo’s are on their way shortly. Check back!

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Here we go…

Have I forgotten anything? One last check,                                      

Pack the car, got tunes for the deck,                                                                                          

Surf report fills me with eager anticipation,                                                                      

Getting out of the city leaving behind the frustration,

Feeling guilty, leaving the family behind,                                                                                   

I’ll return refreshed if I search and I find,                                                                                      

One more sleep then we’re on the road trip,                                                                           

For four days of tubes, barrels and pits!

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